Discovery Files

New Analysis Method Ranks National Science Foundation As Tops For Computer Science Funding

New data shows NSF has the highest ranking among national and international agencies for funding high-impact computer and information science research.

A Penn State University research team analyzed the acknowledgements of 335,000 computer science documents stored within a computer and information science archive. When the final counts were tallied, the "most acknowledgements" honor went to the National Science Foundation (NSF) with 12,287, 2.6 times more than the next most-acknowledged entity. When the scientists continued probing and analyzed just the top 100 most-cited papers in the database, NSF again scored on top with 26 acknowledgements.

The work, appearing in a Dec. 21 article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes a new, automated method to analyze the acknowledgment section of research articles for acknowledged funding agencies, corporations, universities and individuals.

If scientific research leads to a new discovery, a researcher spreads the news and receives due credit by publishing the results in an appropriate scientific journal or magazine. These scientific articles often contain "acknowledgements," used by the authors to recognize individuals or entities facilitating the research.

Common acknowledgments pay tribute to fruitful scientific discussion, technical support or editorial comments as well as the funding source supporting the research. Researchers rightfully thank those providing their "bread and butter."

Other U.S. federal agencies scoring high on this list of funding influences for computer science research were the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Office of Naval Research (ONR) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The company most often acknowledged was IBM.

"This research underscores the contribution of federal investments in cutting-edge information technology research," said Lee Giles, one of the paper's authors. "Continued long-term investment by NSF in our nation's computer science programs is paramount to keep pace with increasing globalization."

NSF--the primary supporter of computer science research conducted at universities--provided 56 percent of the total federal investment in computer science research to the academic community in 2001, according to Science and Engineering Indicators 2004.

And who was acknowledged in the paper that published these studies?  NSF, of course!